Alright so it hasn’t been the most stellar of summers thus far. In fact, the weather hasn’t really cooperated for much of last year, has it?
Now that I think of it, the weather has had such an effect on the lower mainland that here I am, complaining about it in an article like I’m standing in line at the bank waiting for the gentleman in front of me to count out all his exact change.
But when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it proves the dedication and passion of athletes with a burning desire to final play outside.
Sure, tennis players can play inside.
But it’s just not the same.
Pro: When you’re outside you’re competing with the natural encouragement of nature at your back. You’re playing under the summer sun with the fresh mountain air filling your lungs with ambition and energy. It’s a powerful combination of invigorating stimuli that you can use to pulverize your opponent into submission.
Con: That life-bringing summer sun might feel wonderful on your skin, but the glare off the court or the shifting shadows can wreak havoc on your ability to not only see the ball, but predict the shots of your opponent, not to mention their position on their side of the court.
Pro: Ever played a few matches in the bowels of a 50 year-old building with 45 people all competing as hard as they can? Yeah - it can get stuffy. Playing outside with the breeze flowing through you and the sounds of nature in the background is another element of excitement that makes the game just a little more fun.
Con: Ever tried to nail a shot an inch inside the line with a zig-zagging gust of wind pounding you from the side every 30 seconds? Yeah - it can get tricky. Playing with the elements as either your teammate or your opponent requires an extra level of focus that can be hard to attain after a winter spent shooting balls inside.
Pro: One of the coolest stories I get to hear time and again from the North Shore Winter Club tennis community is the ongoing battles with friends (although sometimes friends isn’t the noun that’s used). You’re all competitive. You all want to beat each other. It’s awesome. So when you have a chance to get your opponent into unfamiliar conditions in which you know you’ll excel, then your chances of victory skyrocket.
Con: …that it unless your opponent is counting on precisely the same tactic. Maybe you’re the one who’ll have a difficult time dealing with the onslaught on your senses or the ever-shifting elements. Maybe it’s you who will be thrown off your game in the unfamiliar conditions. Maybe it’s you who just can’t handle being outside your comfort zone.
Pro #2: Pushing your boundaries every once in awhile is one of the best ways to push the flow of your game to the next level. We can all crack a hundred smashes in precisely the right spot when there’s no pressure and our preparation is consistent. When you’re forced to deal with unfamiliar conditions, that’s when true development occurs.
Make sure you’re prepared this summer when you grab your racquet and head to the court.
Even if being prepared means expecting the unexpected.